7 soliloquies

Merch martEarly in 2019, Professor John Boesche was commissioned for a very large scale original public art work. Art on theMART is a collaboration between the City of Chicago and the owners of theMART to project digital artworks on the 2.5 acre façade of that building. A system of thirty-four 30,000 lumen projectors was launched in late 2018. The system could project dynamic video imagery designed to be mapped on that specific architectural form. This is the largest permanent architectural projection system in the world, viewed from the newly created Chicago Riverwalk.

The request for proposals stated that “The installation will serve as a centerpiece of the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events ‘Year of Chicago Theatre’ initiative, a yearlong celebration of the city’s vibrant theatre community in 2019.”

Merch MartBoesche’s response was 7 soliloquies: seven short solo performances for the camera. Each piece features a veteran Chicago actor performing a 1½ to 2½ minute story, framed in a unique digital art setting. The performances include spoken word selections of scripts from Shakespeare to Ike Holter, musical theatre, puppetry, and dance.

Digital projections on architecture have become a frequent canvas for contemporary public art around the world. But it is unique for these projections to center on the human face, form, and voice expressing a theatrical narrative. 7 soliloquies is a creative response to this new digital, urban, public art canvas—bringing the media experience of human beings being human to the 1.5 million annual visitors of this public art space.

Photography courtesy of Art on theMART by Bob Grosse.